Journalism Professor Offers Tips for ‘Madmen'

Mort Rosenblum, a professor of practice in the University of Arizona School of Journalism who has reported news from more than 200 countries over four decades, has written a correspondents' field guide and handbook for "anyone who wants to keep track of the world."

"Little Bunch of Madmen: Elements of Global Reporting" is an insider's guide for students that combines advice and anecdotes from correspondents with lessons Rosenblum said are important for anyone who consumes news.

The title comes from a 1930s quote from H.R. Knickerbocker, who wrote: "Whenever you see hundreds of thousands of sane people trying to get out of a place and a little bunch of madmen struggling to get in, you know the latter are newspapermen."

The 262-page guide does not bemoan the shrinking number of foreign correspondents, Rosenblum said. Rather, it discusses the changing ways in which correspondents of today cover news.

"Opportunities have never been better for gutsy, resourceful reporters willing to make their own way," he said.

The book is offered as part of Cornerstone Unlimited, a company Rosenblum founded to "inspire students to work abroad and to train correspondents from different cultures to see beyond the simple elements of stories that matter."

Rosenblum said he plans to offer teaching plans for university and high school journalism courses and guidance for discussion in book clubs on the book's website.

Rosenblum has taught international reporting at the UA since 2005. He's won numerous awards for his international reporting and has been nominated for eight Pulitzer Prizes.

"Little Bunch of Madmen," due out in September, sells for $12, though copies may be pre-ordered for $9.60 at Amazon.com. Rosenblum said, somewhat tongue in cheek, that pre-orders are selling so well that the book has moved up from the 1.4 millionth position on Amazon's chart to No. 722. Amazon ranks the popularity of books by sales.

"I'm jazzed because of what this response so clearly demonstrates," Rosenblum said. "People in huge numbers, across the planet, realize the danger of trying to fathom today's world by long-distance guesswork. We need real reporters. We need trustworthy ‘media,' whether old or not, mainstream or not, on paper or in the ether. What matters is the message."

By Kate Harrison, UA School of Journalism July 6, 2010